Interview: Elaine Isaak

Elaine Isaak dropped out of art school to found Curious Characters, designing original stuffed animals and small-scale sculptures, and to follow her bliss: writing.She is the author of The Singer’s Crown (Eos, 2005), and sequels The Eunuch’s Heir (Eos, 2006), and The Bastard Queen (Swimming Kangaroo, 2010). A mother of two, Elaine also enjoys rock climbing, weaving and exotic cooking—when she can scrape the time together. She attended the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop in 1997. Visit to read sample chapters and find out why you do not want to be her hero.

Can you talk about your pre-Odyssey writing process? What kind of writing schedule, if any, did you keep?

Continue reading “Interview: Elaine Isaak”

Interview: Rebecca Shelley

Rebecca Shelley is the author of Red Dragon Codex and Brass Dragon Codex under the pen name R.D. Henham. She has been writing books since she was old enough to hold a pencil. In 2001, she attended the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop. She is the mother of four children and loves to go adventuring. She has a special fondness for dragons and fairies. For more information, visit

Can you talk about your pre-Odyssey writing process? What kind of writing schedule, if any, did you keep? Continue reading “Interview: Rebecca Shelley”

Interview: David G. Hartwell

David G. Hartwell is an American editor of science fiction and fantasy. He has worked for Signet (1971-1973), Berkley Putnam (1973-1978), Pocket (where he founded the Timescape imprint, 1978-1983, and created the Pocket Books Star Trek publishing line), and Tor (where he spearheaded Tor’s Canadian publishing initiative, and was also influential in bringing many Australian writers to the US market, 1984-present), and has published numerous anthologies.

Each year he edits The Year’s Best Science Fiction (started in 1996 and co-edited with Kathryn Cramer since 2002) and The Year’s Best Fantasy (co-edited with Cramer since its first publication in 2001). Both anthologies have consistently placed in the top 10 of the Locus annual reader poll in the category of Best Anthology. In 1988, he won the World Fantasy Award in the category Best Anthology for The Dark Descent. He has been nominated for the Hugo Award in the category of Best Professional Editor and Best Editor Long Form on numerous occasions, and won in 2006, 2008 and 2009. He has also won the Eaton Award and the World Fantasy Award.

He edited the best-novel Nebula Award-winners Timescape by Gregory Benford (1980), The Claw of the Conciliator by Gene Wolfe (1981), and No Enemy But Time by Michael Bishop (1982), and the best-novel Hugo Award-winnerHominids by Robert J. Sawyer (2002).

Since 1995, his title at Tor/Forge Books has been “Senior Editor.” He chairs the board of directors of the World Fantasy Convention, is on the board of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, and, with Gordon Van Gelder, is the administrator of the Philip K. Dick Award. He holds a Ph.D. in comparative medieval literature.

He lives in Pleasantville and Westport, New York with his wife Kathryn Cramer and their two children.

Tell us a little about your editing career. How did you start out and why do you continue to edit science fiction and fantasy? Continue reading “Interview: David G. Hartwell”

Interview: Alexander Jablokov

Alexander Jablokov will be a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey workshop. He writes science fiction for readers who won’t give up literate writing or vivid characters to get the thrills they demand. He is a natural transition for non-SF readers interested in taking a stroll with a dangerous AI or a neurosurgeon/jazz musician turned detective, while still giving hardcore SF fans speculative flash, incomprehensible aliens, and kitchen appliances with insect wing cases.

From his well-regarded first novel, Carve the Sky, an interplanetary espionage novel set in a culturally complex 25th century, through the obscenely articulate dolphins with military modifications of a Deeper Sea, the hardboiled post-cyberpunk of Nimbus, the subterranean Martian repression of River of Dust, and the perverse space opera of Deepdrive, he has come to Brain Thief, a contemporary high-tech thriller with a class clown attitude.

Alex has a day job: he is a marketing executive for a financial services firm. He does his writing during the mornings, and on weekends. It took him several years to figure out how to get any writing done at all, particularly since he hates getting up early and hates working on weekends, but has somehow managed it.

Once you started writing seriously, how long did it take you to sell your first piece? What were you doing wrong in your writing in those early days?

Continue reading “Interview: Alexander Jablokov”

Interview: Elizabeth Hand

Elizabeth Hand will be a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey workshop. As a writer and critic, she is the author of eight novels, including Generation Loss (2007), winner of the inaugural Shirley Jackson Award for best work of psychological suspense, and three story collections. Her fiction has received three world Fantasy Awards, two Nebulas, two International Horror Guild Awards, as well as the James M. Tiptree Jr. and Mythopoeic Society Awards, and in 2001 she was a recipient of an Individual Artist’s Fellowship in Literature from the Maine Arts Commission/NEA. Since 1988, she has been a regular contributor to the Washington Post Book World, and her reviews and essays have appeared in a number of other publications, including Salon, DownEast Magazine, Fantasy & Science Fiction (where she is a columnist) and the Village Voice Literary Supplement.

Illyria, her World Fantasy Award-winning novella, will be published in 2010 by Viking. Wonderwall, a YA novel about poet Arthur Rimbaud, will be published by Viking in 2011; Available Dark, a sequel to Generation Loss, will also appear in 2011, from St. Martin’s Press.

Glimmering, her prescient 1997 novel about a perfect storm of global climate change, terrorism, and environmental collapse, will be reprinted by Underland Press later this year. She has also written numerous novelizations and a popular series of Star Wars juveniles.

She has two teenage children, Callie and Tristan, and lives on the coast of Maine with her partner, UK critic John Clute.

Once you started writing seriously, how long did it take you to sell your first piece? What were you doing wrong in your writing in those early days?

Continue reading “Interview: Elizabeth Hand”

Interview: Laura Anne Gilman

Laura Anne Gilman will be the writer-in-residence at this summer’s Odyssey workshop. Before she took the first plunge into murky writing waters and submitted her first story to a professional market, she was an editorial assistant at the Berkley Publishing Group in 1994. An almost immediate sale to Amazing Stories followed. She didn’t make another fiction sale for more than a year, which taught her humility and patience. And the fine art of perseverance.

Over the next few years, in addition to a number of short stories published in magazines and anthologies (many garnering “Year’s Best” honorable mentions), she wrote or co-wrote four media tie-in novels (Quantum Leap: Double or Nothing; Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Visitors and Deep Water; and Poltergeist: The Legacy: The Shadows Between). In the meanwhile, she moved up the corporate ladder to be Executive Editor at NAL/Penguin USA.

In 2003, after a great deal of planning and soul-searching–and with a three book contract in-hand–she left editorial to become a full-time writer. In 2004, her first original novel, the urban fantasy Staying Dead was published by Luna. It was followed by Curse The Dark, Bring It On, Burning Bridges, Free Fall, and Blood From Stone. The first in a spinoff series, Hard Magic, will be published in May 2010.

The first book in The Vineart War trilogy, Flesh and Fire, was published by Pocket Books in October 2009. The second book, Weight of Stone, will be available October 2010.

To-date, she has sold over thirty works of short fiction, ranging from mainstream to science fiction to horror. She is also the author of the Grail Quest YA trilogy for HarperCollins (2006), and a number of nonfiction books for teenagers. Writing as “Anna Leonard,” she has also written four paranormal romances (The Night Serpent, Dreamcatcher, The Hunted, and Mustang).

Laura Anne also co-edited the anthologies OtherWere: Stories of Transformation (Ace), Treachery & Treason (Roc) and The Shadow Conspiracy (Book View Press). As part of the Book View Café (, she is involved in expanding the definition of publishing beyond the traditional models, experimenting with the writer-to-reader connection.

More details about her work can be found at

Once you started writing seriously, how long did it take you to sell your first piece? What were you doing wrong in your writing in those early days?

I have a terrible confession to make. I sold the first short story I ever submitted to either the first or second place I sent it to (“All The Comforts of Home,” Amazing Stories, 1994). It freaked me out a little, because I knew damn well it wasn’t supposed to be that easy. But it took another eighteen months to get past the form rejection stage for anything else, so the scales balanced.

Continue reading “Interview: Laura Anne Gilman”

Interview: Michael Arnzen

 Michael Arnzen will be a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey workshop. He has been publishing outrageous horror fiction, SF, poetry, literary criticism, instructional essays on writing, and offbeat humor since 1989. Across his career, Arnzen has won four Bram Stoker Awards, an International Horror Guild Award, and several “Year’s Best Horror Story” accolades and reprints. His novels include Play Dead and Grave Markings. The best of his short stories and poems are collected in Proverbs for Monsters, which won the Bram Stoker Award in 2007. Always the experimentalist, his writing has appeared on Palm Pilots and postcards, short art films (“Exquisite Corpse”) and creepy online animation. His novel Play Dead even inspired a deck of custom-designed playing cards.

When he’s not writing, Arnzen teaches suspense and horror writing fulltime in the MFA degree program in Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University, near Pittsburgh, PA. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Oregon, where he studied “the uncanny” in popular culture, as well as an M.A. in English from the University of Idaho, where he wrote his second novel. Arnzen sits on the editorial board for two literary journals associated with genre fiction (Paradoxa and Dissections) and has edited college literary magazines and more. He is presently working on a guidebook for authors, a book of literary criticism, and several horror titles.

Arnzen taught humor in fantasy at Odyssey in 2007 and students had a lot of laughs. Look for “Stripping Away the Mask”—his essay on crafting horrifying scenes in fiction—in the recently published book, The Writer’s Workshop of Horror (Woodland Press, 2009).

Once you started writing seriously, how long did it take you to sell your first piece? What were you doing wrong in your writing in those early days?

Continue reading “Interview: Michael Arnzen”

Odyssey Writing Workshop Announces its 15th Summer Session

Publicity Release
November 2009


About Odyssey
Since its inception in 1996, Odyssey has become one of the most respected workshops in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror writing community. Odyssey is for developing writers whose work is approaching publication quality and for published writers who want to improve their work. The six-week workshop combines an intensive learning and writing experience with in-depth feedback on student manuscripts. Top authors, editors, and agents have served as guest lecturers, including George R. R. Martin, Harlan Ellison, Jane Yolen, Terry Brooks, Robert J. Sawyer, Ben Bova, Nancy Kress, Elizabeth Hand, Jeff VanderMeer, Donald Maass, Sheila Williams, Shawna McCarthy, Carrie Vaughn, and Dan Simmons. Fifty-three percent of Odyssey graduates go on to professional publication.

The program is held every summer on Saint Anselm College’s beautiful campus in Manchester, NH. Saint Anselm is one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the country, dedicated to excellence in education, and its campus provides a peaceful setting and state-of-the-art facilities for Odyssey students. College credit is available upon request.

Jeanne Cavelos, Odyssey’s director, founder, and primary instructor, is a best-selling author and a former senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing, where she won the World Fantasy Award for her work. Being a writer/editor makes Cavelos uniquely suited to provide students with constructive and professional critiques of their work. “I give the same unflinchingly honest, concrete, detailed feedback that I provided as a senior editor,” Cavelos said. Her typewritten critiques average over 1,000 words, and her handwritten line edits on manuscripts are extensive. In addition, she guides students through the six weeks, gaining in-depth knowledge of their work, providing detailed assessments of their strengths and weaknesses in private meetings, and helping them target their weaknesses one by one.

Odyssey class time is split between workshopping sessions and lectures. An advanced, comprehensive curriculum covers the elements of fiction writing in depth. Students learn the tools and techniques necessary to strengthen their writing.

Continue reading “Odyssey Writing Workshop Announces its 15th Summer Session”

Interview: Gregory Frost

 Gregory Frost will be a guest lecturer at this year’s Odyssey workshop. He is a writer of fantasy, thrillers, and science fiction who has been publishing steadily for more than two decades. His latest work, the compelling fantasy duology, Shadowbridge. and Lord Tophet (Del Rey Books) was voted one of the four best fantasy novels of the year by the American Library Association. It was a finalist this year for the James Tiptree Award.

His previous novel, Fitcher’s Brides was a finalist for both the World Fantasy Award and the International Horror Guild Award for Best Novel. Other novels include, Tain, Lyrec, and Nebula-nominated sf work The Pure Cold Light. His short story collection, Attack of the Jazz Giants and Other Stories was given a starred review by Publishers Weekly, which called it “one of the best fantasy collections of the year” while hailing the author as a master of the short story form. The collection includes James Tiptree Award, Nebula Award, Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and Hugo Award finalist fiction.

His shorter work has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s Magazine, Weird Tales, Realms of Fantasy, and in numerous award-winning anthologies. His latest short story can be found in Poe (Solaris Books), edited by Ellen Datlow.

He is a Fiction Writing Workshop Director at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA.

His web site is He’s on Facebook as Gregory Frost; on Twitter as gregory_frost; and his LJ blog, “Frostbites” is at

Once you started writing seriously, how long did it take you to sell your first piece? What were you doing wrong in your writing in those early days?

Continue reading “Interview: Gregory Frost”

%d bloggers like this: